Graduate Education

Pursuing a Career in Healthcare Management

Clarkson PA student, Aaron Cooper, completes his round at Canton-Potsdam Hospital.

When it comes to career outlook, fields within the healthcare industry continue to top the charts. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, between now and 2028, the overall projected job growth for healthcare occupations is 14 percent, translating to more job growth within the healthcare industry than any other occupational group.  

As the healthcare system continues to evolve to meet the needs of an aging population and the rise of chronic illness, the types of roles within the industry must change and adapt. This has opened up a great opportunity for those passionate about health to play a significant role in managing these waves of change by pursuing a career as a medical and health service manager.

The need for medical and health service managers is growing at an even more rapid rate than the industry as a whole, with a 22 percent projected career growth over the next decade. Those pursuing a career in healthcare management will do so through one of two degrees — an MBA in Healthcare Management or a Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA).

While there are a number of similarities in the two programs, there are also some significant differences. From curriculum differences to long-term career trajectories, it’s important to understand the difference between the healthcare management MBA and MHA in order to decide which path is right for you.

Curriculum Differences

Both degrees offer a thorough exploration of the complexities of the healthcare industry intertwined with key business training such as marketing, finance, economics and accounting. The notable curriculum difference lies in the focus of in-depth training:

  • MBA in Healthcare Management programs offer additional training in finance, marketing and management skills
  • MHA programs offer additional training in health policy and epidemiology 

At Clarkson, for example, our Healthcare Management students complete one course combining health policy and epidemiology, as well as individual courses focused on strategy, marketing, accounting and finance that draw on specific examples from the healthcare industry. A typical MHA program, on the other hand, offers dedicated courses related to health policy, while combining accounting and finance into a single overview course, and marketing is rarely offered as a dedicated course. Both MBA and MHA programs provide students with a thorough introduction to health systems, as well as operations and managing people and teams.

Career Trajectory 

A degree in healthcare management or administration will prepare you for a variety of rewarding and lucrative career paths. Many graduates find opportunities in traditional clinical and hospital settings, guiding these organizations toward increased effectiveness for both patients and the staff who serve them. Others seek opportunities in businesses that support the healthcare industry such as insurance, technology and consulting firms, pharmaceutical and medical device companies, and health policy organizations. Drawing on business skills, graduates are prepared to take on leadership roles navigating the demands of increased technology and data in healthcare and health-related fields.

Whether you choose to pursue a position within a traditional health setting or one of its surrounding fields, you can expect a competitive salary. Medical and health services managers earned a median annual wage of $100,980 in May 2019. Additionally, employment is projected to grow 18 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

As you decide between these two degree options, consider your long-term career goals. Both degrees offer the opportunity for growth, but an MBA may offer increased flexibility over time. As a universally recognized degree, an MBA is easily transferable to any industry should you choose to move on from the healthcare field. 

Why Get an MBA in Healthcare Management at Clarkson 

At Clarkson, we see great value in our students having the ability to work and study concurrently. That is why our MBA in Healthcare Management is designed to provide flexibility, including full- and part-time options, as well as varied class formats that will allow you to balance your existing career with your education. The major benefit of this approach is that our students are able to apply the concepts they are learning in real time at their place of work. In turn, students are able to bring questions and challenges from their work experience into the  classroom. 

Dually accredited by the Commission of Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME) and the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), our program is run by top-notch faculty who come to you with practical field experience, allowing

them to speak to topics and address questions from their own first-hand knowledge. Whether you decide to take courses online or in-person, they are all taught by the same faculty using the same curriculum, regardless of the format.

If an MBA in Healthcare Management seems like the right fit for you, find out how to get started at Clarkson.

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